Swallowing Darkness – Chapter 11: A Tiny Pony??

Chapter 11 starts with Merry staring at Onilwyn’s body, unsure if he’s dead or merely unconscious. She doesn’t want to look away from him until she knows for sure. Sholto appears by her and she leans into him and shivers from the cold. Sholto begins caressing her with his tentacles to try to keep Merry warm. Eventually one of the other guards from the Seelie court who was sucked into the hunt shows up and checks on both Mistral and Onilwyn. Onilwyn still lives, but with “the faintest pulse”. Same for Mistral. Merry wants to get Mistral to a healer ASAP, but she wants to first make sure Onilwyn is dead before they go.

Sholto tries to convince Merry that she should get the Queen’s permission before killing Onilwyn, but nope. She wants him fucking dead. Merry orders Sholto to take her and Mistral to the healers of the sluagh and orders the other guards to kill Onilwyn. They, of course, refuse, because no one ever listens to any order Merry gives them. She’s a princess and she is next in line for the Unseelie crown, and yet all of the men in her life, and all the men period, always question and fight her decisions. Constantly. It’s one constant theme throughout this series that LKH manages to not forget.

Which, you know, just makes Merry look like a totally powerless ruler, but w/e.

They continue to argue about whether Onilwyn should die for another page or so. Meanwhile Mistral is just dying, no big deal. Merry gets up and walks away from the three men.

The ground was colder as I walked away from Sholto. His magic had been keeping me warm. As I moved across the frozen ground, the three sidhe lords watched me, as if I were something to be cautious of, almost as if they were afraid of me. It wasn’t a look I was used to seeing on the faces of the noble sidhe. I wasn’t sure if I liked it, but I knew I needed it. People only follow you for two reasons, love and fear. Money didn’t mean anything in faerie. I preferred love, but tonight my enemies had proven that there were more of them than I had known and that there were too many plots to reason with them all. When love and sweet reason will not work, you are left with fear and ruthlessness.

Explains the GOP, I guess.

Merry picks up Onilwyn’s sword and raises it above his body. Saying a prayer for her babies and her people, she drives the sword into Onilwyn, right into his heart and walks away with the sword piercing him. “Tell the other lords and ladies that I am with child. I am remade, reborn, and threats to my children and my kings will be met with the utmost severity.”

She holds out her bloody hands and begins to glow. The smell of roses fill the air. Then, the golden cup appears in the air in front of Merry. Man, I love this cup. I love that LKH constantly refers to it as a “golden cup”. Not a chalice. Not a goblet. Not any other fantastical name for a drinking container. Cup.

The golden cup.

Rose petals start filling the cup, so Merry kneels down next to Mistral and orders the men to remove the arrows from his body. As they begin pulling each arrow out, Merry puts her hand into the petal/liquid mix in the cup and then presses her fingers to the arrow wound, and the wounds begin to close. Once that’s done, she offers the cup to each of the guards and they all take a sip.

The petals that had fallen to the ground start sprouting vines, which grow to surround them in a green thicket. Merry tells the men to return to their sithen and announce that the “wild rose” has returned. One of the guards, Lord Turloch, tells Merry that he wants to bear her mark, so one of the vines reaches out and wraps itself around his wrist, then turns into a tattoo-like mark. The other guards sort of argue about this, but eventually they all decide to follow Merry while remaining in the Seelie court. Sholto, who still controls the wild hunt and is the only person who can release the guards from the hunt, releases them and they go.

Sholto tells Merry that he can take Mistral to the sluagh healers immediately, but that she would not survive the trip. Also, once he leaves, she will no longer be protected from the wild hunt (yet she was the one who started the hunt, so explain that reasoning). Merry looks around at the creatures in the hunt and tells Sholto “I see nothing to fear. Bring it. but know that the Goddess still rides me, and she will bring order out of its chaos.”

So Sholto and Mistral vanish and Merry is left in the middle of the hunt. A tentacle reaches out and touches Merry, and then falls from the sky in a formless blob. Merry hears it ask “What shall I be?” Merry starts questioning if she deserves the power to create at will, and while she frets over what to tell this blob to become, it just turns itself into a dragon. Other fantastical shapes start forming out of the creatures of the hunt. They surround her, and suddenly she’s inside the sluagh mound with Sholto and Mistral not far away. Sholto is screaming for a healer.

Merry calls out to the sluagh inside the mound that she and the wild magic can change the wild things into whatever they desire. The nightflyers, as typical, are hesitant because they do not trust sidhe magic. Sholto tells them that it’s not sidhe magic, it’s the Goddess controlling this. Finally, one of the sluagh, a dude named Gethin, steps forward. He touches one of the wild things surrounding Merry, and then the wild thing starts changing. When it’s all done, its turned into a small black pony. Seeing Gethin’s thrill at this, others step forward to make the other wild things change. A huge tentacle reaches down from the ceiling to touch the very last of the wild things, which changes into a smaller baby tentacle.

Sholto seems astonished, and he tells Merry that it has been so long since the Goddess has turned her attention to the sluag. Merry lets him know that they will no longer be forgotten, and the chapter ends with several nightflyers returning to the room with a healer in tow.

IMPORTANT

Another way that you can help raise awareness of racial injustice is to contact the various police departments and attorney generals who oversee the districts where this shit keeps happening. Write an email, place a phone call or text… these help address these serious issues in a non-monetary way that takes just a few seconds or minutes of your time.

Breonna Taylor was murdered in her house by police who raided the wrong house and was shot 8 times while she was sleeping. Call or E-mail the Louisville Mayor’s office and demand that the officers involved be charged!

Louisville Mayor, Greg Fischer
– (502) 574-2003

-Text “ENOUGH” To 55156

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